Plus: NBC renews ''30 Rock,'' ''Spider-Man 3'' to premiere at Tribeca Film Fest, Ferrell's production company lands first pilot, and more...
Peter O’Toole in final talks for Christmas Cottage
Peter O’Toole is in final negotiations to star in A Christmas Cottage, Lionsgate’s feature based on the Thomas Kinkade painting of the same name. The movie will be partly biographical and tell the story of how American painter Kinkade was inspired to become an artist. O’Toole will play a painter based on one of Kinkade’s mentors. Michael Campus will direct, and the Firm’s Julie Yorn, Michael and Arla Dietz Campus as well as Thomas and Nanette Kinkade will produce. Shooting starts later this month, with a holiday release planned. O’Toole was nominated for this year’s Leading Actor Oscar for his performance as an aging actor in Venus. (Hollywood Reporter)
NBC renews 30 Rock despite poor ratings
Despite lackluster ratings, NBC has ordered a second season of the critically acclaimed comedy series 30 Rock with hopes that it will follow the pattern of sister show The Office, which has slowly built a solid audience. NBC will air reruns this summer and is planning a major relaunch next fall. 30 Rock has made several 10-best lists and earned Baldwin Golden Globe and SAG awards, yet it has averaged just a 2.7 rating/7 share among adults 18-49 this season. 30 Rock stars Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Scott Adsit, Jack McBrayer, Judah Friedlander, and Rachel Dratch. Fey also co-executive produces. NBC still has not decided whether to renew drama series Friday Night Lights, another other critically acclaimed first-year show struggling in the ratings. ( Variety)
Spider-Man 3 to premiere at Tribeca Fest
The third installment of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise will premiere on April 30 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The premiere will be part of a citywide Spider-Man week with related events taking place throughout New York City. The movie gets wide release on May 4. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst reprise their leading roles in the new installment, which also introduces two new villains: Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace). The Tribeca Film Fest, now in its sixth year, runs from April 25 through May 6. (Hollywood Reporter)
Cannes adds to its lineup
Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass, the Coen brothers, and Martin Scorsese have been added to the roster for the 60th Cannes Film Festival, which begins May 16. Scorsese will be the guest of honor, as well as present the fest’s Cinema Lesson, hand out the Camera d’Or for first film, and launch his World Cinema Foundation for the preservation of classic movies. In addition to Compass, which stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, and the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, movies already confirmed for the fest include Ocean’s Thirteen and Quentin Tarantino’s contribution to the Grindhouse double feature, Death Proof. (Variety)
Will Ferrell’s production company lands first pilot
HBO has given Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods. its first pilot order for an untitled, single-camera comedy about a burned out former baseball player forced to take a job as a substitute gym teacher. The show was written by Jody Hill, Ben Best, and Danny McBride, the same trio that wrote and starred in the indie kung fu comedy The Foot Fist Way, which was acquired by Gary Sanchez. McBride also stars as the baseball player in the HBO pilot. Ferrell and McKay previously worked together on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which the two wrote, McKay directed and Ferrell starred in. (Hollywood Reporter)
John Goodman sued for backing out of deal
Constantin Film has filed a $3 million lawsuit against John Goodman, claiming the actor backed out of a verbal agreement to appear in Volker Schlondorff’s upcoming medieval drama Pope Joan, an adaptation of Donna Woolfolk Cross’ 1997 novel. Goodman reportedly agreed to play Pope Serguis in the movie, which was scheduled to start shooting in May. Goodman’s publicist responded in a statement: ”There were talks about Mr. Goodman’s participating in the Pope Joan project, although no agreement was ever reached. This is a frivolous lawsuit.” (Variety)
Larry the Cable Guy gets third feature
Larry the Cable Guy will star as a small-town sheriff in Parallel Entertainment’s comedy Witless Protection. It will be the comedian’s third feature, following Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and the upcoming Delta Farce. The movie, about a sheriff who rushes to rescue what he believes to be the beautiful victim of a kidnapping, will also feature Ivana Milicevic, Yaphet Kotto, Peter Stormare, Joe Mantegna, and Eric Roberts. Shooting starts next month. (Variety)
Numbers star lands two deals with Apatow
Numbers star David Krumholtz has landed two movie deals with producer Judd Apatow: he will write and star in Attorneys at Raw for Universal and Apatow Prods., and he will co-star in Columbia’s comedy Walk Hard, also produced by Apatow. Attorneys is a comedy about two lawyers who decide to become rappers, while Walk chronicles the messy life of fictional music legend Dewey Cox, played by John C. Reilly. Jenna Fischer will also star. Krumholtz’s movie credits include Bobby, Sidewalks of New York and Slums of Beverly Hills. (Hollywood Reporter)
MLB Extra Innings stays available on cable
Major League Baseball worked out an 11th-hour deal that will keep its out-of-market Extra Innings package available over cable networks for the next seven years. The cable deal kills a proposed $100-million-a-year exclusive seven-year deal with satellite TV provider DirecTV. (Variety)
Peabody Award winners announced
NBC’s The Office and Friday Night Lights were both named winners of 2006 George Foster Peabody Awards on Wednesday (April 4), while HBO grabbed five awards, including one for Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. ABC News was given two awards, and ABC’s Ugly Betty was named a winner as well. The awards will be presented on June 4 at a luncheon in New York hosted by NBC/HBO sportscaster Bob Costas. (Hollywood Reporter)
MTV greenlights third season of The Hills
MTV has ordered a 10-episode third season of its unscripted series The Hills. It will debut this summer. The show saw its season 2 audience increase 9 percent over the first season to an average of 2.7 million viewers. (Hollywood Reporter)
VH1 grabs big ratings with New York
The season finale of VH1’s I Love New York, which has the Flavor of Love contestant search for love among a group of bachelors, attracted 4.8 million viewers. I Love New York wrapped as the second-highest rated series ever for VH1, behind Flavor of Love 2. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Now that he’s boycotting Cristal, Jay-Z is set to ink a partnership with Ace of Spade champagne.
Rush & Molloy: Lil’ Kim reportedly signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press to publish her prison memoirs.
Ben Widdicombe: William Zabka, the blond bully from The Karate Kid, directed a music video that includes a cameo from co-star Ralph Macchio.